Animals of the Polis: The Island Years
Candice Ward

                               (for Neal Bell and his “Philoctetes”)

"And who am I?
I'm just a guy.
I have a story like everyone."
(R.E.M., "Electron Blue")


dry    forgot blue again    oh, the hum the ho
never too hot    not the wait but the rock

The Prophecy:

A Greek sailing by in a jollyboat
Pit-stops to desecrate the shrine
His foot to be fanged
By the guardian snake
His comrades to leave him behind
The jollyboat much jollier after that

so far so good this island provisions
the wonder is the why of physis:
a goddess enshrined to naturalize

well, blew all her seedy hours, dint she?
bound to be ruins where there’s smithereens,
just too moused off the beaten clock

her snake wants signs, they say,
splashy, like gold enshowers:
oh to put the bite on the Greek,

him so hot to foot the hoplite
(a fat lot of good now
his little bow and arrow)

help, he goes, ship
ow times ten (years)
tell you what, let’s let Herakles

do the agonize, him with the wound
this, the bow that (not to mention
an anachron Bunny any too soon)

best get on top of this now:
got to go to Troy, you know,
to get to Paris


Candice Ward, poet and editor, currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, and can be contacted at Her poem is forthcoming in a chapbook from Wild Honey Press (Ireland).